Retiring Sunderland headteacher praised by top police officer for helping inspire the next generation of PCs

Northumbria Police's Chief Constable has complimented a retiring Sunderland headteacher for the support of the Force’s Mini Police scheme.

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 11:57 am

Joan Lumsdon has been headteacher at Castletown Primary School in Sunderland since 2009 and is set to end her career in education this summer.

The 65-year-old joined the school as a supply teacher 32 years ago and has since gone on to be a key support of Northumbria Police’s Mini Police scheme – which sees children aged nine and 10 play an important role in supporting operational policing.

Dozens of children in Castletown have become Mini Police and this is something that Mrs Lumsdon believes has helped local children dream big and want to make a positive difference in their communities.

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Northumbria Police's Chief Constable has personally thanked Castletown Primary School headteacher Joan Lumsdon for her support of the Mini Police scheme as she retires. Photo: Shane Hopkins.

Chief Constable Keenen said: “Our communities are held together by outstanding individuals who consistently go above and beyond to help others, and Mrs Lumsdon has epitomised that for a long time.

“We are indebted to her for showing such enterprise, influence and passion to inspire hundreds of children across the community to become involved and active contributors to the local community which results in greater community cohesion. We are incredibly appreciative of all she has done.

“She has also been a huge supporter of our Mini Police scheme which sees young volunteers give up their spare time to support policing – from passing on safety tips to classmates to assisting at numerous public events.

“The scheme helps break down barriers and helps young people understand officers are there to help – and there to keep them safe.”

“The time and energy that Mrs Lumsdon has invested in support of children and Northumbria Police cannot be overstated and we wish her all the very best in her retirement.”

She commented: “I’ve always believed school should be at the heart of the community, in order for children to become good citizens they must take responsibility and pride in their area.

“But that shouldn’t wait until they become adults, it should be something they embrace from a young age. That’s the philosophy I’ve always had throughout my years in education.

“Some people think children are non-aspirational, but I’ve found exactly the opposite – and the Mini Police has helped open childrens' eyes to the vast possibilities that lie ahead.

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“The scheme has given them some amazing experiences and an understanding about the different aspects of policing. The police is not just about locking up the baddies, there’s so many other elements to the work that they do.

“Over the years, the children have loved going down to the Marine Unit, visiting Newcastle Airport to learn about the police helicopter, and also taking on some important lessons on public safety.

“The Mini Police have helped some of our young people realise they can make a difference in their community and made them think about what they aspire to be in the future.”

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